Dear Mr. Schwartz,
First of all, please let me express, on behalf of myself, my daughters, and (a bit presumptuously) the millions of fans out here, our unending gratitude for Wicked: The Musical.
We are profoundly delighted to learn you are now applying your genius to a movie adaptation of the musical. As any true fans are wont to do, we have drummed up some pretty specific hopes for the finished product. In a spirit of humble but informed adoration, we submit to you our top three requests:
1. We really want Idina and Kristin.
We know it’s a lot to ask. We know that the esteemed original witches of Shizz have already been advised that they are too old to reprise their roles, yet we must ask: Isn’t it actually true that no one has done – or maybe even can do – them better? In fact, it is our observation that the greatest challenge for actresses in these roles since Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel moved on has been to live up to the standard they set without actually impersonating them.
We are by no means casting aspersions on the subsequent cast members. On the contrary, they have blown us away with their presence, bravery, and skill at the craft on every tour. It’s just not a matter of talent or any other quantifiable attribute; it’s ownership. Can you imagine if J.J. Abrams tried to make the new Star Wars with a re-cast of Han Solo? (shudder)
It has not escaped our notice that the original actors are in their forties while the characters at the beginning of the story are teenage girls at boarding school. Computers and make-up could possibly alleviate the difference to a degree, but we have a better idea: You can eliminate the whole dilemma if you simply…
2. Animate it!
We are not the first to consider this option, we know, so forgive us if you’ve heard it all before. Still, we can’t help but believe this is Wicked‘s best chance as a movie musical. Compare the relative successes of Rent, Dreamgirls, and Burlesque vs. Happy Feet, Tangled, and The Lorax. To be honest, last year’s Frozen almost served as an inadvertent dry run for Wicked (with Idina and all!) and its success continues to grow.
Right or wrong, the idea of people expressing their feelings by bursting into song is just more palatable to this generation of movie-goers when cartoon characters are doing it. As an animated film, Wicked can keep its stars, and fans can keep their peace. Win-win!
3. Do the Director’s Cut thing.
We cannot imagine what agony it must be to look at the beloved, perfect body of work you created for the stage and force yourself to hack it down to 85-100 minutes for traditional film structure. While we resign ourselves to the inevitability of this, and assume that some pieces such as “As Long as You’re Alive” and maybe even “I’m Not That Girl” won’t make the cut, we hope that you will pull a Peter Jackson and release the entire musical in its complete form as a Director’s Cut edition.
Seriously, we’ll pay.